Gauteng COVID-19 deaths expected to peak in August – Expert

The number of daily COVID-19 deaths in Gauteng is expected to peak next month, according to engineer and Pandemic Data and Analytics (PANDA) member Piet Streicher.

Streicher noted that due to the erratic reporting of deaths in Gauteng, this forecast has less confidence and a wider envelope compared with his previous Western Cape forecast.

Based on the available data, however, Streicher said that Gauteng will reach its peak mortality rate between 1 and 14 August.

This rate will peak at between 40 and 62 deaths per day, he added.

“Note that daily deaths can vary significantly, so we work with a seven-day rolling average,” Streicher said.

PANDA published an article on 14 July which argued that South Africa’s official COVID-19 projections continue to “grossly overestimate” the number of deaths caused by the virus.

The organisation criticised the modelling used by the South African Coronavirus Modelling Consortium (SACMC), stating that its predictions were grossly inflated.

“In a report published on 10 July, the Gauteng Provincial Command Council referred to an SACMC prediction that 8,000 to 11,000 ICU beds and 25,000 to 30,000 hospital beds would be required,” Streicher said.

“The report also referred to a Gauteng model which predicted that 55,000 to 71,000 hospital beds would be required.”

Conversely, PANDA predicts that Gauteng will need 600 to 1,200 ICU and 4,000 to 8,000 hospital bends – one-tenth of the number predicted by the SACMC.

Predictions vs Reality

PANDA co-ordinator Nick Hudson previously slated the government’s COVID-19 modelling, stating that it amounts to scaremongering.

Hudson said that “just as one group of modellers goes to ground after getting things catastrophically wrong for foreseeable reasons, a new one emerges to repeat the trick”.

He highlighted that the official modelling of South Africa’s projected mortalities from COVID-19 started at 375,000, which was completely wrong.

Over time, these forecasts were significantly reduced to 40,000 mortalities, which he believes is still a drastic over-estimate.

This exaggerated mortality figure “scared the living daylights” out of President Cyril Ramaphosa, which he said resulted in the strict and prolonged level 5 lockdown.

PANDA has said that its modelling data and more accurate projections continue to be disregarded by the SACMC and the government, resulting in the government continuing to make decisions based on incorrect information.

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Gauteng COVID-19 deaths expected to peak in August – Expert